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Pre-diabetes linked microRNA miR-193b-3p targets PPARGC1A and increases lipid accumulation in hepatocytes: potential biomarker of fatty liver disease

Inês Guerra Mollet, Maria Paula Macedo



Distinct plasma microRNA profiles associate with different disease features. Elevated plasma microRNA hsa-miR-193b-3p has been reported in patients with pre-diabetes where early liver dysmetabolism plays a crucial role.

MicroRNA target databases revealed that hsa-miR-193b-3p could potentially target PPARGC1A, a master switch transcriptional co-activator that orchestrates the expression of genes involved in multiple metabolic pathways. In this study we evaluated the effects of hsa-miR-193b-3p in the human HepG2 hepatocyte cell line.

We show that hsa-miR-193b-3p targets PPARGC1A/PGC1α mRNA 3’UTR and reduces its expression. Overexpression of hsa-miR-193b-3p under hyperglycemia resulted in increased accumulation of intracellular lipid droplets; and quantitative real-time RT-PCR of a panel of 24 genes revealed significant disruption in the expression of genes coordinating glucose uptake, glycolysis, pyruvate metabolism, fatty acid synthesis, fatty acid oxidation, triglyceride synthesis, VLDL secretion, insulin signalling, and mitochondrial biogenesis, dynamics and function.

These results provide in vitro evidence that microRNA hsa-miR-193b-3p downregulates PPARGC1A/PGC1α, disrupts downstream metabolic pathways and leads to the accumulation of intracellular lipids in hepatocytes.

We propose that microRNA hsa-miR-193b-3p may have potential as a clinically relevant plasma biomarker for metabolic associated fatty liver disease in a pre-diabetic dysglycemic context.


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